What should you expect from the Giants coming out of the bye? Well, for one, expect more balls to be thrown WR Darius Slayton's way.
It's been a solid rookie connection between QB Daniel Jones and Slayton all season, and it took a big leap in the tough loss to the Jets two weeks ago. Slayton set a bunch of career highs in targets (14), receptions (10), and yards (121) while hauling in two touchdowns as well.
This was the breakout performance many in the Giants facility believed this fifth-round pick was capable of. And because of it, Jones said that he'll be looking his way more often.
"I think he'll continue to step up and make plays, and I've just got to make sure to get him the ball," Jones said after practice on Wednesday.
As you'd expect, Slayton can't wait for the opportunity.
"It's exciting. Obviously, you want your quarterback to have a lot of faith in you as a receiver," Slayton said. "I think that's how you build a rapport with quarterbacks. Every time the ball leaves their hand, making sure it gets completed. I think that helps them have confidence in us. We know they are going to put the ball there, so at the end of the day, it's on our end."
Coming out of Auburn, Slayton's hands were a question mark, but that hasn't showed in the NFL. He has had a drop or two, but Slayton's ability to make contested catches has been a sight to see. Just think about his second touchdown grab against the Lions in Week 8, or his first career touchdown against the Vikings that needed a perfect throw from Jones to find Slayton.
Since his preseason performances to now, Slayton has seen his rookie progression continue to trend in an upward direction, and it has helped him out on the field knowing his teammates trust him to make a play.
"Just confidence, and the plays," Slayton said when asked where he's seen his growth. "You learn every week. I'm coming to learn in the NFL you learn something new every week, a different defense it seems like. Just confidence in my ability and the offense."
If Sterling Shepard has to miss another week due to his concussion, Slayton will definitely see his targets from Jones. And, just as he has all season, he'll be sure to make the best of them. Because this "sleeper prospect" has proven he can be trusted, and looking into the future, he may be a mainstay in the making on the Giants' receiving corps.
He won't think of it that way. But after producing the way he has so far this season, Slayton knows he can make an impact in this league.
"I can compete with some of the best in the game and I just want to continue to show that throughout the rest of the season," he said.